From Abuse to Joy

Jun 6, 2024

From Abuse to Joy

By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer

Physical abuse, neglect, failed adoption attempts. This has left a child in the Fannin County Children’s Center Court Appointed Special Advocates care for 8 years. It’s been a bumpy ride, but there is light ahead, hope for this child who comes from hard places. Adoption proceedings are underway again and the child is thriving in school, doing all the normal kid stuff. They are transforming to reach a point where joy is starting to pour out.

As an umbrella agency, the Fannin County Children’s Center gets to pour into lives like this precious child’s. Through Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC), the center works in partnership with Child Protective Services and the 336th District Court, law enforcement, prosecutors, medical and mental health professionals. They also work with volunteers, churches, and the families to make sure every individual in the child’s life is creating as strong of a community around them as possible.

FCCC supporters and stakeholders gather at the courthouse as April is declared Child Abuse Awareness Month.

“Recently we had a mom of a current client come in and say that her child had been hurt at school,” says Kim Skidmore, executive director of the Fannin County Children’s Center (FCCC). “With the collaboration of the FCCC, the investigation started immediately. The detective came to the center right away and the child was forensically interviewed. This sends a message to the family that they are important and taken seriously, and also tells the community that hurting kids won’t be tolerated. The collaboration and connection through the Children’s Center makes that possible.”

For Kim, becoming executive director of the FCCC meant coming home. Bonham is a place she can raise her four-year-old and fulfill her passion of serving others.

“It’s important to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Kim says. “I worked at the Fannin County Children’s Center after I graduated Austin College in 2008. I moved to Dallas and did other nonprofit work, then worked at the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center for 10 years. I started as an interviewer and left as the director of forensic services. I like being a small piece of the puzzle in criminal cases, and I think we have an obligation to be part of the bigger picture of life. So when this job at FCCC became available, it felt right.”

Texoma Health Foundation funding helps cover vital therapy support and other services at FCCC. These programs serve kids from hard places so they can reach a point where joy is pouring from them.

Staff photo